Monday, 16 May 2011

My experience at Grand Designs Live 2011

Grand Designs is a hugely popular TV show in the UK and every episode follows one family's journey to build their dream , green home.  The Grand Designs Live Show features the host of that TV show, Kevin McCloud and is a huge event where companies can showcase their new, innovative and green products and ideas.  The show is split into interiors, gardens, kitchen/cooking and build and in each of these areas there is a theatre where seminars are held throughout the day.  There is one show in London and one in Birmingham every year.

Last November I was contacted by the media company which organises the Grand Designs Live Show and they asked me to be a guest speaker at the Grand Interior's Theatre at their London Show in May.

I was convinced this was a joke and dialled the number then hung up when they answered. 

Initially I said no as I've never spoken in public before and am a really anxious person but after speaking to the organiser she convinced me that I spoke with such passion and could do it.

I've been a bag of nerves the last few weeks and have had trouble sleeping.

On top of that my computer died and I didn't have my new one delivered until Tuesday 3rd May and I was speaking on Friday 6th May!  They asked me to speak about revamping furniture and furnishings but I wanted to include the amount of free inspiration there is out there in the world of blogging.  Blogging is not as big in the UK as it seems to be all over the rest of the world and I was really keen to highlight the number of amazingly talented people and beautiful and inspiring blogs there are out there.  My introductory speech was written in a night and my 130 photo slideshow was done in a day.  I didn't write a speech for my slide show as I decided to talk as I go along as I carefully selected all photos I was going to speak about and I included just a few of my own little projects I had done for the show.  I showed several pictures from some on my favourite blogs such as The Lettered Cottage and Dreamy Whites to name just a couple.  I also gave everyone a printout with the web addresses of all the blogs I mentioned so they could go home and check them out become addicted themselves.

My sister came with me as my assistant (more my moral support) and when we got there we were allowed past security into the restricted area which was such a buzz.  When I saw the stage it hit me that I was going to be speaking there and started to giggle with nerves!

There was a huge sign next to the stage which listed all the speakers at each of the five seminars held over nine days.  Several people spoke a few times - I had chosen to speak twice as I thought that if I messed up the first time I could have another go before walking away in shame!  Some people spoke over a couple of days.  So, there were a total of 45 seminars with around 20 - 25 people talking and I became overwhelmed with excitement that I had been asked to be one of them.

Here I am listed at 12pm and 2pm on Friday.

And I even had to take a photo of my name on the TV screens!
It does make me laugh that they called me an 'expert'!!

Apparently the seminars are often quiet in the mornings and the person before me only had a small crowd so when I started speaking there was my sister and some staff only in the audience.  This turned out to be a really good thing as it really settled and calmed me especially when I thanked them all for coming!  By the time people sat down and more and more joined I was completely relaxed and loving every minute of it.  I was amazed that my voice didn't even shake which I was really worried about - where this side of me has been hiding all these years I've no idea!

My second seminar was packed before I even started talking and I had a round of applause at the end which made my day year!

I even had some people come up for a chat at the end.

I loved it so much I'm going to speak at the Grand Designs Live Show in Birmingham in October.

I never in a million years thought I would ever get a chance to do something like this and more so never thought I could do something like this.

Without you I wouldn't have had anything to write about so I would like to thank all of you for writing such amazing blogs, for sharing so many wonderful ideas and for just inspiring me (and hopefully a few more Britons) daily!

Thank you


~I do have photo's of me on stage and of my audience but I've deliberatly not shown them as they all clearly show that I either am in desperate need of a breast reduction or had two people hiding up my top - I now plan on losing weight before the next show!~


  1. Oh Sam, I'm so excited for you! I wish I could have been an audience member and I know those in attendance really enjoyed your presentation! Hmm, now to figure out a way to visit the UK in October! You go girl!

    Kat :)

  2. Wow, that's brilliant! I'm glad for you that it went so well. You seem to have found a whole new side to yourself - that's great!

  3. What a wonderful opportunity and experience for you. How exciting it must have been.

    I am sure you looked great. You are being too hard on yourself. Good luck at the next seminar.

  4. Oh wow that is fabulous, well done you. I hope you don't mind Samantha I have used some images of your cushions to write a post about you. I love your blog, your furniture restoration and your wonderful cushions. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, love Linda x

  5. Well done Sam what a wonderful opportunity for you.. I found you from Linda's blog over at flowers on my table and fell in love with your cushions. I'm a UK blogger and am surprised at how few there is of us. Keep spreading the word because you're right they are so inspiring and I'm sure if more people knew about blogs they would love them x

  6. Thankyou so much for visiting me and giving me approval to show your cushions. I see that you are following me, thankyou I am over the moon! I shall be in touch soon to get some cushions for soon as I can decide how I'm going to re-decorate my living room! Have a lovely day, love Linda x

  7. Wow that is fantastic. I LOVE Grand Designs (and maybe Kevin too). We have an Australian version but I haven't seen it yet. Good on you for getting over those nerves. Best of Luck at the Birmingham seminar/s...T

  8. What an amazing story! Shows you what is possible through the world of blogging. What a great experience - I'm sure you were fantastic :) XOL

  9. Wow! Congratulations on being asked to speak there, and for doing such a confident job of it!
    Just found your blog via Linda at Flowers on my table - she talks about you in a post.
    Looking forward to browsing your blog!
    Gill x


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment. I will read every one and will visit your blog too (be patient with me as I get carried away blog browsing. I appreciate every comment left x